Tuesday, 3 December 2013

No, I don't think we eat swastikas at Christmas...

Just a quick Christmas post today, with a special guest appearance from our lovely neighbour, Sweden!

In case you didn't know, Finland and Sweden have a sort of friendly rivalry going on all the time, about everything. There are kazillions of Finnish jokes where a Swede does or says something funny, and the Swedes honour us in a similar fashion. Nothing lifts a Finn's heart more than bettering Sweden at anything, be that an ice hockey match or making a Guinness world record in something totally mad. And we love to make fun of each others' traditions, all in a friendly manner. That's what it was all about the other day on SVT News, right? Right?

SVT Nyheter took a special interest in a Finnish Christmas delicacy, which I can't translate any better than "Christmas cakes". These are made of puff pastry dough, filled with plum jam, and folded usually into the shape of four-pointed stars. SVT Nyheter, however, thought the cakes resembled something much more sinister than stars. Om du kan svenska, kan du läsa här. If you can't read Swedish, I'll just tell you what the link says.

Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish widely-read newspaper (I think?) published a recipe for the Finnish Christmas cakes. Then SVT Nyheter called the paper asking them why they had pictures of cakes shaped like... swastikas. Really. A representative of the paper insisted that the cakes have long traditions and that any resemblance to swastikas didn't cross anybody's mind. I guess the SVT interviewer thought they were being extremely funny when they then asked if the recipe originated from the 1930s.

This is what a Christmas cake, or joulutorttu, looks like when it's folded into the star shape:

Okay, I'm not going to press any point on whether or not our Finnish Christmas cakes look like Nazi symbols. Neither am I going to guess whether or not SVT was being completely serious. I'm going to shrug, smile a little, and quietly say "Oh those funny Swedes". And when I'm having guests on Thursday, I'm going to buy some puff pastry dough and plum jam and fold up some cakes, because they are the most DELICIOUS Christmas thing ever and I truly feel sorry for anyone who can't enjoy them because they might possibly remotely bring to mind some symbol.

Have a tasty Christmas everyone, whatever you're preparing, and since Sweden insisted on bringing Germany into the discussion, for today's song I'm giving you O Tannenbaum by Nat King Cole (one of my many favourite singers whose voice absolutely melts my heart... What do you think about his German? I never studied it so I wouldn't know.)

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